February 3, 2015 (SSNA) — The agreement for the unification of the SPLM signed in Arusha, Tanzania on 21st January 2015 by the three factions of the SPLM party must not be bought by South Sudanese as a solution for stability in the country. Right from the word go the IGAD leaders believed that for the ragging conflict in the country to come to an end, the SPLM/A needs to be united.
This belief is based on assumptions that the SPLM represents the entire people of South Sudan. How they reached this conclusion nobody knows. IGAD ignored all the facts presented to them by the media and continued to pursue their misguided plan. Please see, ‘IGAD inadequate strategy in South Sudan’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201404140864.html and ‘The solutions to South Sudan’s political problems lies in new blood’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201404040507.html
What is clear is that the SPLM represents the interest of a single social group and it is this concrete fact that is responsible for the chaos and fragmentation of the country. SPLM/A is the cancer of South Sudan and reunifying it and supporting it will just lead to more uncertainty and insecurity as there is today.
The IGAD leaders exerted all their efforts to realise that end. Now they have their agreement. Will it really bring peace and stability to South Sudan? This remains to be seen.
SPLM/A is incompatible with the state of South Sudan. It’s very foundation is anti South Sudan and because of that it has not visualised itself governing an independent South Sudan. Its vision looked towards seizing power in Khartoum and configuring the entire Sudan to realise its objective of the so called “New Sudan”.
The very notion of independent South Sudan has always been an anathema to the SPLM/A. To embed this fact, let us revisit the words of this infamous organisation’s late leader Dr John Garang. In his speech of 3rd March 1984 he boldly and confidently declared, “The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has been founded to spear-head armed resistance against Nimeiri’s one-man system dictatorship and to organise the whole Sudanese people under the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), through revolutionary protracted armed struggle waged by the SPLA and political mass support.” (John Garang Speaks, 1987 p19. The following year, Dr Garang went on to elucidate this position in his speech of 22nd March 1985 (ditto pp 25 -37).
SPLM being broad based movement adapted policies reflecting its main objective. For example, it promoted a wide multi isms in the social and political space intended to destroy the dominantly imposed Arab culture and identity of the Sudan to realise a ‘New Sudan’. Theoretically, there was nothing wrong with this policy except that practically South Sudanese had had enough of Arab oppression based on culture and religion and they wanted an out from the Sudan.
As SPLM had been concentrating on its grand objective it failed to develop plan ‘B’ policies for governing South Sudan should it break away. So when the South Sudanese voted for secession SPLM was caught with its pants down. All of a sudden, it lost its objective as a liberation movement and became a hollow shell. It no longer had a ‘vision and direction’. The internal report which identified the loss of vision and direction of the organisation in 2013 appears to have failed to pinpoint the real cause of this situation.
Dr Riek opportunistically on 5th March 2013 seized on this finding and nominated himself to the leadership of the organisation in its national executive meeting. Impatiently and imprudently, he heaped the entire blame of failure on President Salva Kiir while distancing himself from everything that had been going wrong. For example, the massive corruption and lawlessness crippling the country. It must be remembered that this was the source of the current conflict destroying innocent lives in South Sudan.
Dr Riek all along since 2005 till 23rd July 2013 had been a member of the leadership of SPLM running the country. He bore equal responsibility for the failure of SPLM like President Kiir and the others. The reality is: the loss of vision and direction of the SPLM is neither President Kiir’s nor Dr Riek’s making. It is the result of a default occurrence emanating from the secession of South Sudan from the Sudan. President Kiir being semi illiterate can be forgiven for failing to foresee this important development.
However, Dr Riek who is highly educated should have identified the vanishing vision with the emerging ideological vacuum in the SPLM. The supposed apparatchiks of this infamous organisation – Pagan Amum, Dr Anna Itto, Suzanne Jambo and so on who are well educated should have equally identified this very problem and reacted to it. No one among them asked the simple question in January 2011 after the referendum: Now that South Sudan had decided to go its own way, what would be the vision of SPLM? The answer to this question would have helped them to think of alternative ways to adapt their party to realities of independent South Sudan.
Unfortunately all of them were asleep and busy plundering the new country of its resources. Please see, ‘Corruption saga: The SPLM five big guns or the quintet squirrels’ http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/corruption-saga-the-splm-five-big-guns-or-the-quintet-squirrels
It is surprising that all of them latched on to the finding of the SPLM report to advance their own personal interests without examining the root cause: the secession of South Sudan has rendered SPLM irrelevant in the new environment of a new country. It has become like an empty shell abandoned by the snail owner.
Another thing that Dr Garang constructed into the working of SPLM is conflict. Conflict is an important part of SPLM’s life. It is what gives it the ability to constantly rejuvenate itself. For instance in mid 1980s the SPLM/A targeted the Uduk people of Upper Nile and the Equatorians in the far south of the country to advance its unionist policies as well as its hidden agenda of building Jieng power base in the movement simultaneously.
This argument may sound bizarre but careful examination of it makes proper sense. Since SPLM officially is supposed to liberate the whole Sudan, it needed to be seen to bring all the people of the Sudan together.
However, because SPLM also had a hidden tribal agenda, the two can not go in tandem. Bringing the people together meant that it would be impossible to concretise Jieng tribalism. The way to go round this obstacle was to institute a policy of divide and conquer. Dr Garang openly boasted of his ability to hit one tribe with the other in the then radio SPLM/A beamed from Ethiopia.
Tribalising the SPLM was not difficult for Dr Garang. The schisms of 1970s and early 1980s between the Jieng and the Equatorians discouraged the majority of South Sudanese tribes from joining the movement. The Jieng incensed by the decentralisation of South Sudan flocked to the movement in massive numbers with the intention to revenge. As a result Dr Garang filled the entire structure of the movement with the Jieng although there were people from other tribes present who qualified for such positions.
This tribal construction has since become the key generator of conflicts in the organisation. For instance, in mid 1980s saw SPLM/A target the secessionists, the Nuer and Equatorians; in 1991 saw the SPLM/A targeting the Nuer again; in mid 1990s saw the SPLM/A targeting the Equatorians especially the Didinga and Toposa; in 2004 saw the Jieng fighting among themselves over the governance of the movement; in 2008 saw the SPLM/A targeting the Chollo which resulted in the founding of SPLM-DC and then in December 2013 saw the SPLM/A targeting the Nuer for the third time.
In all these schisms except the 2004 one where President Kiir and the late leader of SPLM/A disagreed over management issues, the rest on surface appear to be wars over the objective of the movement but underneath they also were tribal wars of dominance just like the current ongoing conflict. Whenever a non Jieng expresses interest or aspires to challenge for leadership of the movement, the Jieng react violently while lying and rallying the other tribes to hit their target. It has become a habit of the Jieng to constantly vilify any non Jieng who wants to lead as a traitor. In 2008, in defence of Jieng interest Dr Lam was violently pushed out of the party and labelled as an Arab agent.
These internal wars within the movement and within South Sudan together with the larger war with the Sudan government in Khartoum coupled with the abysmal tribal management of the movement ushered in a culture of violence in the society which awfully has taken root in the psyche of the state of South Sudan.
From the foregoing SPLM/A clearly is a violent tribal organisation that does not represent the people of South Sudan. Its very existence is the fuel of conflicts and divisions in the society. This is all the reason why it is difficult to understand the reasoning of IGAD and the SPLM supporters in promoting its reunification. Obviously the IGAD countries have a reason and that has to do with their own interest which I will dwell on in a later piece. Nevertheless, anybody arguing that the reunification of the SPLM will bring peace to South Sudan only exposes their ignorance of the organisation and its dynamics. Such a person knowingly and wilfully promotes the destruction of the country.
If anything, the SPLM/A needs to be disbanded or dismantled by any means available for the sake of survival of the state of South Sudan. SPLM members of-course would not welcome the contents of this piece. They are busy promoting the unification of the SPLM as the only thing that can bring peace to the country even when the evidence point to the other direction. For example, the writings of Dr Luka Biong Deng which unethically promotes Dinkocracy and those of Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba which mainly is leftist oriented.
I will not waste time to critique Dr Deng for obvious reasons but it is important to comment on Nyaba’s recent new position if only because he is a true patriot.
Dr Nyaba publicly resigned from this monstrous organisation in June 2013 following its implosion. He unequivocally accepts it is a total failure (organisationally, structurally and ideologically). However, he finds it difficult to admit its slow but sure demise. In his article ‘Our intellectual journey towards a coherent political ideology’ published by South Sudan Nation on 16th December 2014, he nostalgically argues, “The SPLM remains the only viable political forces that united South Sudanese across ethnic and regional fault line. It is therefore the only guarantee against fragmentation of South Sudan”.
This argument is grossly misleading because it seems to stem from a surface analysis and not from an in-depth examination of the realities of the struggle in the then Sudan from 1983 to 2005 and thereafter. SPLM has since its inception been an exceptionally violent, divisive, chaotic and tribal organisation. The evidence litters Dr Nyaba’s own book: The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan.
The current destruction of the resources of South Sudan including its people which the internationally community calls, “man made” derive from SPLM’s concept of ‘born to rule’. The Jieng, the owners and managers of this useless outfit proudly proclaim – the SPLM is the Jieng and Jieng is the SPLM. The two are faces of the same coin.
SPLM benefitted from backlash to local, regional and international Islamic violence. Thus the reason South Sudanese joined the SPLM is not because it was a unifier of the people, but rather because Arab intensive oppression coupled with Islamic extremism and intolerance of the ‘other’ pushed the people of South Sudan to the bosom of SPLM. Khartoum’s theocratic policies left the people of South Sudan with no option but to flock to the SPLM in pretence in order to survive. In essence what appeared at face value as ‘love’ of SPLM by all the people of South Sudan giving it a false image of a unifier is in fact a ploy for survival. The true feelings and secessionist aspiration of South Sudanese was later to be proven at the referendum.
Remember SPLM’s objective has firmly been unionist in nature and antagonistically to the aspiration of the South Sudanese people. The late leader of the SPLM Dr John Garang proved the point by persecuting secessionists ruthlessly and crowing loudly that ‘our first bullets were fired against the secessionists.’ Garang violently imposed unionism on South Sudan through the killing of Akot Atem and Samuel Gai Tut.
Nyaba undoubtedly is a formidable intellectual and a gallant fighter. He fought for South Sudan as an SPLA officer losing a leg in the process. His fearsomeness and audacity can not be questioned. Nyaba while in Juba, the lion’s den, used his pen to demolish President Kiir’s lie of a coup in December 2013. Please see ‘From Dr Adwok: Sorry Sir, it was not a coup.’ http://www.southsudannation.com/from-dr-adwok-sorry-sir-it-was-not-a-coup/
When Nyaba resigned from the SPLM those of us who respected his intellectuality believed he would at last be shading light to the right path for South Sudan. Unfortunately, to our deep disappointment he regressed by rejoining the same hopeless organisation he quit in June 2013. His current position arguably can be seen as the embodiment of SPLM very pathology. Please see, ‘Arusha agreement briefing: We can’t leave the SPLM party to Salva Kiir’ http://nyamile.com/2015/01/25/arusha-agreement-briefing-we-cant-leave-the-splm-party-to-salva-kiir/
Now the Arusha agreement intends to unify this monstrous organisation yet again, which will reset it for another round of bloodletting, as soon as a non Jieng aspires to lead it. However, even before this happens the agreement itself lays the seed of divisions in the centre of Jieng power. If the SPLM truly unites, the Jieng generals and their militia and the Jieng Council of Elders are likely to find themselves pushed away from the centre of power. This may lead into internal violent squabbles fracturing the delicate unity of the Jieng.
Another scenario which may be more likely is that the generals may take matters into their own hands by seizing power and handing it to one of the members of JCE. Whichever option that will transpire will be unacceptable to the people of South Sudan which means the conflict may continue to rage on for the unforeseeable future until the SPLM/A itself due to its violent nature hacks itself down into non existence leading to capture of power by the people.
The only positive thing from Arusha is that the process has exposed the facade of the Jieng system in Juba. It has educated the African leaders and shown light on the true culprits in South Sudan. This is highly welcome.
So, neither SPLM-IG, nor SPLM-IO, nor SPLM-G10, nor SPLM-DC (now excluded from the deal), individually or collectively or united can provide a solution to the country. They have never had a vision for South Sudan other than theft, corruption, killings, tribalism and chaos. What is needed is a new group with a new vision and humane values driven by the concepts of ‘common purpose’ and ‘common good’.[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
The author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at [email protected]